Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Getting Emotional With… Hartmut Esslinger

Emotional design interview...

“Form follows Emotion” is Frog’s philosophy on design. Could you explain why this is such an important philosophy for Frog?

Even before I started the company that is now frog design, I always felt that the world of objects and experiences should neither be soul-less “corporate kitsch” nor should it be as austere and dire as many designers in the 1960’s tried to impose. But more importantly, there weren’t any technical consumer products back then which would be loved for their emotional appeal. So when I looked at Sullivan’s complete quote…

“…it is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.”

…I always felt that “form follows function” was a simplistic and misunderstood reduction of Sullivan’s wider description. I also believe that “function” is a must, however humans always strived for a deeper meaning – just look at ancient Greek objects or the Japanese House. Therefore I wanted to provoke a bit and coined the (also somewhat simplistic) slogan “form follows emotion” – which then inspired many people in a very surprising way (so I was lucky). Slogan aside, at frog we always include the positive progress of technology and the adoption to human dreams and needs into our work because a product experience is a also a personal experience. “Aesthetics” then communicate the true meaning and therefore must be honest, which includes neither coping others or ourselves.

On Frog’s website it states: Good design inspires. It evokes passionate brand loyalty. How would you describe the relationship between consumer emotions, brand sentiment (long term feelings consumers have for/with a brand) and product experience?

Design has a deeper effect than just superficial appeal: “Design” is our modern-day continuation of human-historic, metaphysical symbolism. When you create and communicate a “branding symbol” well enough and long enough with convincing ethics (quality and behaviour), people will recognize the visual symbol and subconsciously connect it with content (the brand promise and experience). Therefore “good design” is not just beautiful or fashionable, but must be identical and consistent in creating “social belonging”.   (Continued via design & emotion)   [Usability Resources]

Emotional Design- Usability, User Interface Design

Emotional Design


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